Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - 12:52
Fundraiser started to free Dutchman held in Spanish prison
Rob van der Dussen has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help him cover the cost of freeing his son Romano from a Spanish prison after DNA evidence linked a different man to the rapes that kept Romano imprisoned for the last 11.5 years. Rob van der Dussen describes the situation in which his now 42 year old son finds himself as a living hell, according to the newspaper. Not only has he been locked up for almost 12 years for rapes he did not commit, "but his daily reality in the Spanish prison is horrible: inmates regard him as the lowest of the low", he said. According to Van der Dussen senior, Romano is faced with constant aggression, threats and humiliation. In May 2005 Romano was convicted of raping three women in Fuegirola, near Malaga, in August 2003. Two of the three women identified him in a lineup in which he was the only non-Spaniard. Despite an alibi from friends and the fact that Romano proclaimed his innocense from the start, he was sentenced to 15.5 years in prison. Shortly after Romano was irrevocably sentenced, a DNA traces found on one of the victims matched a sample on file from British man Mark Dixie, currently serving a 34 year sentence for raping and murdering model Sally Bowman. According to Rob van der Dussen, Romano's pro bono lawyers made a mess of his son's case by piling mistake upon mistake during the process. "Gross errors were made during the trial. I want to straighten this out together with foundation PrisonLaw and that requires a lot of money. I will not lose hope", he said to the newspaper, adding that every day Romano is released before the 15 years he was sentenced to is a victory. "I can not give back the bite that has been taken out of his life, but I want to save him from the 'guilty label. As long as that is stuck on you, you can not go on, everything stands still."